Archived Story

Show military personnel the proper support

Published 5:59am Saturday, March 24, 2012

I came into work Friday morning as usual around 10 a.m. The day was going like any other, for 20 minutes at least.

My boss called me shortly after my arrival at work to ask me to cover an event at Russellville West Elementary School.

I am indeed the sports guy in the office, but my Bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNA does not say sports anywhere on my diploma.

I was taught how to cover any type of news that I might need to, from meetings and obituaries to epidemics and war.

Long story short, my covering a news event is not the end of the world. I was glad I did before the end of the day.

There will be more on this story in Wednesday’s issue of The Franklin County Times, but for my purposes I will mention it briefly here.

A soldier in the U.S. Army had rotated home for the first time since October. He surprised his six-year-old daughter at school. It was the first time he had gotten to hold her in his arms for six months.

I was tasked with taking photos of the event and getting a few words from the man afterwards. I may be a big guy, but I choked up like every other adult in the room.

I witnessed a man hold his daughter for the first time in half a year. They didn’t say much at first, but the look on the little girl’s face. Along with that of her father, said more than any number of words could express.

I talked to the soldier and his family afterwards, but I tried to keep it as brief as possible so they could get on with their day.

I did not want to keep this man from seeing other family members.

I thanked him for his service after he was kind enough to talk to me, and he was on his way.

This was a major event in my day, but I would not be surprised if he hardly remembers speaking to me. Having different priorities will make people have different experiences of an event, and he was seeing his family.

I was not very important, and rightfully so.

I was simply a small part of that day for him, but I’m glad I could be a part of something so special.

I have seen so many stories of military personnel surprising loved ones by coming home to see them, but I saw what so many have seen only on television with my own eyes.

Seeing this in person gave me an entirely different perspective on what it means for those in the military to see loved ones after so long.

I ask that each of you reading this remember that we have men and women overseas fighting every day for the freedoms we take for granted.

The least we could do for them is show our unmitigated support for their efforts, whether or not we agree with the reasons behind our operations in foreign countries.

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